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Carbolite has supplied the Fraunhofer Institute for Physical Measurement Techniques (Fraunhofer IPM) in Freiburg, Germany, with a test rig that comprises wire wound horizontal three-zone tube furnaces.

Fraunhofer IPM is engaged in research on new materials, particularly nanocomposites and its work includes materials research, development of thermoelectric modules, thermoelectric simulation, measuring technology and systems.

The furnaces will provide institute research teams with a processing system for studying and improving the thermo-electrical properties of advanced thermo-electric materials and systems.

The Institute will use the two separately controlled, rail-mounted three-zone tube furnaces for the optimising of compound semiconductors.

Key specifications

  • The systems are designed to maximise operational flexibility by combining the two, three-zone furnaces to form a single large multi-zone furnace or separating them to give two differently heated regions with a gradient of 200°C between the two
  • The three-zone tube furnaces feature a desk and rail system that provides vibration-free movement of the furnaces and is constructed to support a very long fixed quartz tube through both furnaces
  • The furnaces have different sizes: the larger has a heated length of 600mm; the smaller 400mm each with an integral recrystalised alumina work tube
  • End-zone controllers with thermocouples compensate for a tendency for tube ends to be cooler and ensure that the tubes’ furnaces have a larger uniform zone than can be achieved with only one control loop
  • Each furnace can accept an accessory tube with a maximum outer diameter of 65mm
  • Power to the furnace’s end zones is automatically adjusted to compensate for heat loss
  • The furnaces are specified to operate at a maximum temperature of 1,200°C but by using modified control algorithms they are able to operate between 150°C and 600°C
  • Prior to delivery to Fraunhofer IPM, Carbolite’s engineers made test measurements between 500°C and 700°C to ensure good uniformity in each middle zone and a sharp linear gradient in the middle of both furnaces with a small thermal wall of 15°C in both outer end zones


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